Images essential in tobacco health warnings

06 Jun 2009

Pictorial health warnings on cigarette packs are essential.Pictorial tobacco warning labels are essential for communicating health risks to smokers, a report by the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (the ITC Project) has found.

The report, FCTC Article 11 Tobacco Warning Labels, found that graphic pictorial warnings were more effective than text only warnings because they: are more noticeable; increase thoughts about the harms of smoking; have more impact on smokers; and lead to more smokers quitting or intending to quit smoking.

 The report supports the strong FCTC Article 11 Guidelines (adopted at the Third Conference of the Parties in November 2008), which call for pictorial warnings on at least 50 per cent of cigarette packages.

The report also covers the size and location of warnings, and suggests that warning labels on 30 per cent of the front and 90 per cent of the back (30-90) may not be as impactful as warning labels on 50 per cent of the front and 50 per cent of the back.

The report was released in time for the WHO’s annual World No Tobacco Day on May 31, which also focussed on tobacco warning labels.

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